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Feds bust 'Wiseguy' ticket racket

NEWARK - Four men dubbed the "Wiseguys" defeated computer security systems of ticket vendors to buy 1.5 million choice seats for Bruce Springsteen concerts, New York Yankees games and dozens of other events, prosecutors alleged Monday.

The men, who ran Wiseguy Tickets Inc., used computer technology to move fraudulently ahead of the public in buying premium seats through Ticketmaster, Live Nation Entertainment Inc., Telecharge and other vendors, according to an indictment unsealed in federal court in Newark.

After buying tickets offered on a first-come, first-served basis, the men resold them on the secondary market and made more than $28.9 million in profit from 2005 to 2008, prosecutors alleged. The men bought 220 of the 440 best seats offered to the public for a Springsteen concert at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on July 27, 2008, prosecutors said.

"At a time when the Internet is bringing convenience and fairness to the ticket marketplace, these defendants ran a sophisticated fraud and hacking operation that allowed them to buy more than 1.5 million tickets," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said at a news conference.

Kenneth Lowson, 40, Kristofer Kirsch, 37, and Faisal Nahdi, 36, all of Los Angeles, were charged with Joel Stevenson, 37, of Alameda, Calif. Lowson, Kirsch and Stevenson surrendered to the FBI Monday in Newark. Nahdi is in Indonesia and expected to surrender, prosecutors said.

The tickets they bought illegally included seats to see performances by Miley Cyrus, Barbra Streisand, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny Chesney, Billy Joel and Bon Jovi, prosecutors alleged.

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